Lit The Dark Forces Saga

Discussion in 'Literature' started by DigitalMessiah, Nov 6, 2013.

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  1. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    I've noted in some other threads that I've been playing through the Dark Forces Saga in more or less reverse order -- though I'm currently playing Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 before I play Mysteries of the Sith. Having moved on from the series back in 2003 or so in pursuit of more earnest Expanded Universe endeavors such as KOTOR 2 and other media, I've decided to look past the Chuck Norris jokes at the stories to the Dark Forces saga and Kyle Katarn as a character. I've also been listening to the audio dramas.

    He's clearly designed to have a very similar in backstory to Luke: he's a farmboy from a backwater planet who successfully attended and graduated the Imperial academy, however his expertise was in some form of infantry combat as a cadet stormtrooper vis-a-vis Luke's piloting expertise, which feeds into his role as protagonist of the first Dark Forces game which was a straightforward first person shooter. Unlike Luke, he's not all that idealistic and after learning that the Empire killed his father never committed to the Rebel Alliance, instead working as a mercenary.

    In Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2, we're exposed to some of the hammiest acting ever, the genius of which is that it's so good that you can't really tell if it's real bad acting or intentionally bad acting, likely being a mixture of both. It's amazing and worth witnessing on youtube at the very least. And the game provides a live action depiction of stuff like Force destruction, which I think is neat because it's sometimes difficult to visualize some of the Force powers that the video games, novels, and comics have created as being part of the same universe as the live action films.

    I think that Jerec is one of the coolest villains in Star Wars, not only because of the performance put on by Christopher Neame but how the character was fleshed out in the supplementary materials, whether they be the novellas, the audio drama adaptation, Abel Pena's Dark Forces Saga RPG supplements, et al. I have to imagine that if the game was created now, the Seven Dark Jedi would be the Seven Sith, with Jerec proclaiming himself the Dark Lord after Sidious' demise and abolishing the Rule of Two. Frankly, I'm surprised this hasn't been retconned already. The novellas introduced the backstory of Kaan as a Dark Jedi and he was made into a Sith.

    If you look past the acting and the barebones story -- in the context of the game itself -- I think Kyle's story is interesting. It's more or less Luke's story from The Empire Strikes Back -- minus the Vader revelation. And Kyle's already something of a more cynical and jaded version of Luke, so it makes him a much darker figure. I recall that about a decade ago there was some controversy among some people over the plausibility of Kyle becoming well trained enough as a Jedi, absent a true teacher, being capable of defeating seven Dark Jedi, including having the capability of defeating Jerec after he is empowered by the Valley of the Jedi. I know the novella has Jerec stripped of that power, but even that sort of an ability seems to be a much more advanced one than what someone like Kyle would be capable of doing. Another interesting retcon would be that Jerec was using the Forcewalking technique from the Sith inquisitor story from SWTOR -- as they seem to be more or less the same, unless I'm mistaken (I've only finished Act I of the SI story).

    Jedi Outcast is somewhat disappointing from a story perspective compared to Jedi Knight. I guess there's the emotional involvement by Kyle due to Jan's ostensible death, but absent the deeper Inigo Montoya revenge angle it's lacking -- plus his reason for revenge evaporates before he even faces Desann. I can't quite put my finger on why it feels empty otherwise... maybe if Desann had his own Dark Jedi disciples rather than just Tavion that would spice it up a bit, as I feel the diversity of Jerec's Dark Jedi made things interesting. I guess Desann is kind of boring without the hammy acting of Christopher Neame, and the game itself seems somewhat barebones with the absence of the more esoteric Force techniques, limiting itself primarily to those seen in the films.
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    I'd suggest the retcon that Yun is the Dark Apprentice from TFU2 if the Dark Forces Saga didn't already give him a backstory. I guess we could say that Sariss or Jerec wiped his mind and gave him false memories. For those that dislike Starkiller, it has the added benefit of demonstrating that Starkiller really isn't all that powerful and bolsters the interpretation that Vader threw all fights. Maybe Juno Eclipse is Sariss rather than Shira Brie. TAKE THAT @Ulicus.

    I don't have anything against Jedi Academy for what it is. It's a shame that Jedi Knight III: Brink of Darkness was cancelled. Kyle Katarn has been criminally underutilized for the past decade, with the one time he actually took action in a novel consisting of him getting Worfed for Caedus. It didn't take.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Nov 6, 2013
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  2. RC-1991 Jedi Master

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    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    Apparently he was going to get redshirted by a Vornskr in Star By Star. Obviously the beard reached out and slapped Del Rey.

    EDIT: And I'd kill for that kind of cheesy live-action acting in modern Star Wars games. Imagine the possibilities!
    Last edited by RC-1991, Nov 6, 2013
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  3. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    Feb 17, 2004
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    Troy Denning was going to kill a lot of people in Star by Star.

    And I second the desire for more cheesy acting.

    How can you say no to the dark side?
  4. purplerain Jedi Knight

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    Sep 14, 2013
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    Has anyone read the Dark Forces novellas? How are they?
  5. RC-1991 Jedi Master

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    The audio dramas are... eh. They suffer from a critical lack of Jason Court.
  6. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    Feb 17, 2004
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    I'm kinda fond of Kyle's voice in the audio dramas, although it does make him sound a bit younger. I like how he spazzes out when he's facing Jerec. Kyle's never really had a consistent voice actor, as Jeff Bennett doesn't sound like Court. And Court didn't even voice him in Mysteries of the Sith for some reason. Since the original Dark Forces was my first introduction to the character, I've kinda always preferred him without the beard, although in Dark Forces he looks pretty beat:
    [IMG]
    I guess time travel is one of the properties of the beard though since he's depicted with it now even during the Danuta mission. I'm a fan of this model for Jedi Outcast/Academy:
    [IMG]
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  7. purplerain Jedi Knight

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    Sep 14, 2013
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    I hear the novellas marked the first depiction of the 7th battle of ruusan. I'm curious as to what the game tells us about the battle and what the novellas tell us.
    Last edited by purplerain, Nov 6, 2013
  8. GrandMasterKatarn Jedi Knight

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    Feb 8, 2008
    star 4
    Yeah, the novellas are well above the usual game tie-in standard. Bill Dietz did one great job.
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  9. RC-1991 Jedi Master

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    Wait, where is that model in Outcast/Academy? Is that a mod, or something I've never uncovered?
  10. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    Feb 17, 2004
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    It's a fan made model. About a decade ago I used to play Outcast/Academy all the time and I had a bunch of user made models and lightsaber hilts and so forth. Vader, Yoda, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Maul, etc.
  11. purplerain Jedi Knight

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    Does anybody know what exactly the novella tells us about Kaan?
  12. GrandMasterKatarn Jedi Knight

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    Only that he has white hair, IIRC, very different from JvS where he's got black hair
  13. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

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    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Hooray for bad acting! I really do wonder if they were hamming it up intentionally, or were just that bad. Either way I can't fault them...they brought us Kyle Katarn with The Beard, after all! And am I the only one who thinks Yun had the hammiest acting of all?
  14. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    star 6
    I just re-listened to the audio drama of Rebel Agent earlier today, which as an adaptation of the novella I am assuming is taking dialogue straight from it. In it, after level 2 of JK: DF2 -- the Nar Shaddaa portion of the game -- Kyle is injured and recuperating on an Alliance medical frigate, and Jan takes the data disc that Kyle recovered from 8t88 and it is partially decrypted. She meets with Mon Mothma, Leia, and Luke, and Luke says that Kaan was a Jedi that turned to the dark side centuries ago and formed an empire, when an army of Jedi was raised to oppose it. The Brotherhood of Darkness (named here) was defeated and did a suicide attack to wipe out both armies, but rather than allowing the dead to rejoin with the Force, their spirits were trapped in the valley. Luke knows of the Poem of Ages prophecy and says Yoda told him about the valley.

    I'm sure Neame is chewing up the scenery on purpose. I can't say that I've ever seen him in anything else besides Ghostbusters 2, but I imagine he's a competent actor. He's gone McDiarmid. "Your TRUE POWER!" ranks up there with "UNLIMITED POWER!" for me.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Nov 6, 2013
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  15. purplerain Jedi Knight

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    If the game gets remade, Bane would be referenced nonstop and Jerec would declare himself the Sith'ari.
  16. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

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    Neame and Weigel (Yun) are just hilariously bad, especially Yun's first encounter with Kyle and his death. Although Neame's aping of Palpatine is just awfully amazing. And I mean that literally, BTW. Literally. Jason Court (Kyle) also did a hilariously bad job of "resisting" Maw's temptations with his rapid blinking and excessive deep breaths. Although a small part of me wants Jason to come back and play Kyle in Episode VII because it would be so awesome, and he could maybe show is his real acting chops (assuming he has any).

    That is beyond cool. Anyone else getting a Carth Onasi vibe from that? It's official; that is now my head-retcon appearance for Kyle Katarn at any and all times. And my new avatar. :cool:
  17. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    Technically Neame was the trailblazer for McDiarmid's performance in Episode III, since JK: DF2 was released in 1997.
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  18. RC-1991 Jedi Master

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    One of the interesting parts of the audio drama/Dietz novels is that they showed us a rather different side of Mon Mothma- she's far less the outspoken idealist that the EU sometimes depicts her as, and far more a believable, somewhat cynical, quietly ruthless leader who thinks nothing of eliminating Kyle if he shows even the slightest hint of treachery. Of course, her on-screen role in ROTJ amounted to ordering the assassination of the Emperor, so it's not necessarily out of character.
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  19. purplerain Jedi Knight

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    Then again, the Emperor you refer to was a Sith Lord and was responsible for the Clone Wars and the Invasion of Naboo.
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  20. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

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    To be fair, McDiarmid got his ham on in ROTJ too with "Your journey toward the DAHK SIDE will be complete-ah!"

    Yep, that's Mothma's real job. Someone needs killin'? She walks in the room, gives the go, and walks right back out. Leia and Puffers handle all the real politics.
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  21. purplerain Jedi Knight

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    Episode VII: Revenge of the Neame
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  22. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    Mon Mothma is RUTHLESS in the audio drama.

    Here's Yun in a 1998 movie. I really think they were directed to chew up scenery, or they didn't take the roles seriously since it was for a computer game in 1997.
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  23. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

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    Yeah, like I said, part of me wants Jason Court and Angela Harry (Jan) to return for Episode VII just to see if they've got the acting chops to pull of their roles as serious characters, not as computer-game-hammy characters.
  24. purplerain Jedi Knight

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    The Dark Forces games could definitely use some remakes.
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  25. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

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    I'd love to see Dark Forces 2, Jedi Outcast, and Jedi Academy remade with graphics in the style of TFU2. It would be so cool.
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